The wedge, championship, and final
So, we had our Superbowl yesterday. We won 30-0. Awesome year. Only allowed one TD all year, multiple people scored, least penalized team in league, 8 games where defense outscored opponents -lots more stuff I could brag on, but will try to contain myself. Great opponent in the Superbowl. Even though the score doesn't show it, they played hard, coached well, and played until the end. Our playoff path to the Superbowl was filled with the next three toughest teams in our 30 league org. in my opinion. Enough about the win...
...this is my swan song. After 26 years, I am calling it quits from the sideline. A few words of wisdom to share:
Learn to wedge and use it! I started to wedge in my second year. My team had only been in existence for the second year and although we won a few games, we were the whipping boys for the toughest teams. In my second year, I made my mind up that I was going to win something against the toughest team in the league who enjoyed racking up points and humiliating other teams. They were scoring 30, 40, 50 points a game. I knew my team wasn't going to win the scoreboard game, but I convinced them that we would hold them to under 20 and make them work for those. I wedged the dog poop out of them, spread out the time between plays, used trickery and all I could to frustrate the tar of them (the coach). We lost 18-6 but the opposing coach was very frustrated, yelling at his kids, and they felt defeated. My kids were overjoyed and you would have thought we won the game - funny handshake line ever where the winning team had their heads down. USE the wedge! It ain't pretty but it makes a statement and is effective. In 26 years we had one team stop our wedge - that was yesterday in the Superbowl. My hat is off to them. Thank you.
In 26 years, no one, I repeat no one has ran the wedge on us more than twice a game and that is only on rare occasions. We pounded people with the wedge consistently. They knew it and tried to stop it. Hated it when we ran it....but never copied us. I had assistant coaches become head coaches and they still did not use it. Com'on guys, football is about copying others. I think coaches get caught thinking that the plays have to be complicated and be designed for 20+ yards. We all quote the 3 yards and a cloud of dust is all we need, but few of us practice that. Pete Carrol lost an NFL Superbowl because he was stupid and threw a pass! Run the freaking wedge dude! Dumbest play call in NFL history.
There is only ONE play to call when you are up by 3 scores with less than two minutes to go - TAKE A KNEE! Show some class. Even if you are on the opponents 1 yard line....TAKE A KNEE! We scored 332 points this year and honestly, it could have been twice that amount - no exaggeration. Okay, if you are on your own 1 yard line, run the wedge instead.
The I formation is still King. I know there are wing believers here and that's not a bad offense, but the I is still King, hands down. You only need two offenses to be good, the I and some form of spread. I used to believe you could get by with only the I but with the passing game growing in youth football, the spread is necessary. You don't need to stick to one formation. Just because your core is I, Double Wing, spread, or something else, fill free to mix it up. I've seen lots of teams use only one formation and that's it. I say thanks - because it makes defensive play calling easy.
It is NOT the defensive formation that is important but rather how you teach your players to react to the offense and their discipline! Granted, I wouldn't run a prevent against a goal line defense but you get the drift.
Screw the punt. I stopped punting in my first or second year when I realized my best punt was when the punter couldn't get the kick off and scrambled 70 yards for a TD. I have not punted since. The value is not there. Although our opponents punted several times against us this year, I felt it was unwise on them. Punting is giving up - I don't give up. In one playoff game, we had a 4th and 12 from our own 2 yard line. I ran a reverse. Bad play selection but we needed big yards. We got 4 yards and turned the ball over on downs. Oh well.
Helmets led to the rise in concussions and so did the unrestrained amount of aggressive play of the 60's and 70's. Football was created for defenses to tackle - not hit. Tackling hard while keeping your head to the side is fine. Running into someone at full speed and using your head as a weapon is wrong. Even if you're trying to put your head on the ball to knock it loose. The head should NEVER be used as a physical tool in football. It is for thinking, not hitting. Teach your players how to tackle. We had a couple of kids this past year that scared the whillys out of opposing running backs because of how hard they "hit". If you watch them on tape, they always hit with the shoulder, wrapped up, and never used their head as a weapon.
I don't know what I will do next year - maybe someone can convince me to come out one more time. Maybe I will write a 300 page on the wedge. There will be 298 blank pages for notes. I will continue to read this board and sometimes comment.
Thanks for sharing 3.
Dont be a stranger.
What is beautiful, lives forever.
Good words of wisdom, thanks for sharing. And as a DC, yes the wedge can drive you bats if its effective and keeps the chains moving with a cloud of dust.